Last December I wrote a post titled, “Wayne Grudem lives in a different moral universe than I do.” Grudem’s recent interview with World magazine has not changed my mind one bit.
Here is Grudem:
President Trump has made wise decisions regarding the coronavirus pandemic in the midst of misleading, lying information from China and conflicting advice from scientific and economic experts.
Trump knew the coronavirus was “deadly and airborne” and he refused to tell the American people about it. He held five rallies after he received word of the virus’s deadly nature and did little to address it in the early months. He says he banned travel from China, but this is misleading.
By downplaying the virus, Trump put lives in jeopardy and people died. He empowered anti-maskers and continues to hold mass rallies with no social distancing or masks. He has thousands, if not millions, of followers who think COVID-19 is a “fake.” Thoughtful evangelicals are calling him out for his anti-science views. He has taken medical advice from the My Pillow guy, pushed unproven drugs, and even said that bleach and household disinfectants might help stop the virus. While people die, Trump hawks beans, undermines the country’s chief immunologist, wants to discuss flavored vaping, and retweets game show hosts. Trump has placed his own political ambitions over science. And all the time he claims that he has “total authority.”
Grudem goes on:
On racial issues, his leadership led to an economy with the lowest black unemployment since we’ve been keeping records, with great gains among lower-income workers. He pushed for greater school choices in minority neighborhoods and stronger law enforcement to bring more safety to inner cities.
Was Grudem on another planet all summer? Trump is doing everything possible to ignore the cries of the African-American community in the wake of the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Instead he denies the existence of systemic racism, rallies his white base by attacking critical race theory, connects violent protests to Black churches, says he wants to save the suburbs from rioters (most of whom are black), inspires white supremacists at national parks, retweets people yelling “white power,” and uses the Bible as a political prop to enforce “law and order” and stop a peaceful anti-racism protest. And this is just in the last six months. Let’s not forget Charlottesville, the NBA, and the NFL.
Grudem claims that anyone who says Trump is dividing the country is lying:
It’s bearing false witness against President Trump to say he seeks to divide us. He isn’t responsible for the rioting, the burning of cars, the blocking of public roads and sidewalks that began on day one of his presidency. No Americans legitimately have a fear of physical violence … for putting a Biden sticker on their car or wearing a Joe Biden campaign shirt or hat. But I know many evangelicals, including myself, who fear being physically attacked or shouted at if I were to put a Trump bumper sticker on my car or wear a MAGA or Trump-supporter hat in public.
Does Grudem really believe that Trump is not a divider? Trump has made almost no attempt to bring the country together. His entire presidency is about appealing to his base and hoping that they will give him another four years. To claim that Trump is not a divider, and then go as far to say that anyone who says he is a divider is “bearing false witness,” sounds like comical propaganda.
I looked at The Washington Post’s list of what it calls 16,000-some “lies” Trump has spoken and examined 20 or 30 of them. They’re what I’d call conclusions drawn by a hostile interpreter of words that a sympathetic listener would understand in a positive way. President Trump is often not careful in some of the things he says. He is given to exaggeration. Sometimes he’s made a statement after being given inaccurate information. I’m not sure he’s ever intentionally affirmed something he knows to be false, which is how I define a lie. As you know, I have written an ethics textbook. I believe it’s never right to affirm X when you believe X is false. If someone wants to point out to me some actual Trump lies that fit that definition, I’d be happy to look at them.
Grudem’s claim about lying is interesting. He says that Trump has never “intentionally affirmed something he knows to be false.” Grudem may be right. Maybe Trump believes all the untruthful things he says are actually true. This may be worse than outright lying because it reveals his incompetence. But Wayne Grudem knows best: “you know, I have written an ethics textbook.” Or maybe he just received a prophetic word.
Here is more:
The Trump presidency has resulted in a stronger economy, stronger national defense, positive steps toward achieving border security, standing up to China and Russia, negotiating new trade agreements, advocating educational freedom, standing with Israel, strengthening our military, and reforming our judicial system. Those are all what seem to me to be evidence of God’s blessing on the nation with President Trump. If he wins again, I expect there will be more blessing on our nation. If Biden is elected, he’ll support abortion, cripple the economy, weaken our military, largely abandon Israel, select more judges who legislate from the bench, weaken religious freedom. We’ll have more crime, a complete federal takeover of our healthcare system, and much more that looks like the withdrawal of God’s blessing.
Not sure where to begin here. The economy is a mess. People are out of work. Russia is trying to undermine our elections. There is no wall.
The rest of Grudem’s statements here are Christian Right talking points that I have addressed over and over again at this blog and in Believe Me. Grudem has no proof that the things he mentions here will take place in a Biden presidency. Abortion, as I have said many times here, is actually declining in America and there is no reason to believe it will not continue to decline during a Biden presidency. Notice how Grudem invokes the idea that the United States is in a covenant relationship with God. This “New Israel” language goes all the way back to the 17th century Puritans in Massachusetts Bay. It is also fits well with Mike Pence’s 2 Chronicles 7:14 rhetoric.
Read the entire interview here.